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Revealing wiretaps featuring Arizona’s Sean Miller played in HBO doc

Arizona head coach Sean Miller speaks during the Pac-12 NCAA college basketball media day in San Francisco, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron)

HBO’s “The Scheme”, a documentary featuring wiretapped conversations of Arizona head coach Sean Miller by the FBI, debuted on Tuesday.

The documentary is told through Christian Dawkins’ perspective. Dawkins, a former basketball agent and manager, made his own sports management company in the summer of 2017.

Dawkins, who had close connections across the high school and college basketball landscape, would use those connections to pay players and coaches, with the end goal that they’d sign with his management company when they were pros.

Dawkins’ company was being funded by two individuals that were undercover FBI agents building a bribery case on college coaches as public officials.

Dawkins and his business partners’ phones were wiretapped, along with some of their in-person meetings being recorded as well.

Those recordings included Dawkins discussing Arizona and conversations with assistant coach Emanuel “Book” Richardson.

“Book is like my brother,” Dawkins touted to his partners.

“So I can go into Arizona’s practice like I’m on the team.”

Richardson would meet with Dawkins and his business partners, including the undercover FBI agents, and they were paying Richardson $5,000 a month.

Some of Richardson and Dawkins’ conversations were played.

“How close we are, you helping me get Rawle this year?” Dawkins asked Richardson of former Wildcats guard Rawle Alkins.

Only a few months in, the FBI made its presence known to Dawkins and told him he can either get a lawyer or help them build its case.

Dawkins said the names they mentioned wanting to get more on were agent Andy Miller, former Louisville head coach Rick Pitino and Sean Miller.

Dawkins chose to not work with the FBI and the charges were placed on Dawkins, Richardson and a handful of others.

During Miller’s press conference in March of 2018 when Miller denied knowingly breaking NCAA rules, Dawkins recalled watching it live and being blown away by Miller’s performance.

“Sean should have his own movie agent or some [expletive],” Dawkins said. “He should be an actor. That was a really high-level … I was convinced, honestly.”

Dawkins said Miller lied, and a conversation was played between Dawkins and Richardson.

Richardson and Dawkins discussed meeting with Deandre Ayton, the former Wildcats center and eventual No. 1 pick by the Phoenix Suns.

Dawkins in the conversation says that Miller told him he was getting “killed” on a deal financing Ayton $10,000 a month.

“I think if you can’t believe the head assistant coach on a wiretap, who doesn’t know he’s being recorded, in his truest of moments talking with his buddy and he’s saying that he’s paying players — you’d have to be a really, really diehard Arizona fan to believe he’s not,” Dawkins’ lawyer Steve Haney said in the documentary.

Conversations between Dawkins and Miller were played, including Miller asking Dawkins for more information on a recruit, future North Carolina forward and first-round pick Nassir Little.

Discussing another recruit, former LSU big man Naz Reid, Miller alluded to Arizona not being able to compete with LSU because of the amount of money being offered.

“He just probably said, you know what, [expletive] you I don’t want 75 I want 120,” Miller said to Dawkins on the wiretap.

Dawkins’ conversation with LSU head coach Will Wade was played as well when Wade discussed making offers to a recruit with Dawkins.

Dawkins was sentenced to 18 months in prison and is appealing the sentence.